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Yesterday Alan pointed us (Whopping big collection of tips for developing workflows) to a collection of tips on developing workflows, hosted by MIT, on a mailing list called ‘SAP-WUG’.

I guessed that ‘SAP-WUG’ is a descendant of the venerable ‘SAP-R3-L’ mailing list hosted by MIT, and I was immediately whisked back years to when that was formed, and beyond.

Bottle of bubbly with SAP label Before SAP-R3-L there were two mailing lists; ‘sapr3-list’ run by Bryan Thorp in Canada, and ‘merlin’ run by me, in the UK. We both formed our lists in the first half of 1995, and for a while didn’t know about each other (or each other’s list). Running a list ate a lot of resources, both in computing terms and in human terms – I remember I was hacking on SAP at an oil company up in Aberdeen at the time, and after a day’s work would return to my hotel room and spend a couple of hours in ‘list maintenance’ mode each night. It was pretty time consuming.

Eventually MIT approached us both and gave us the opportunity to merge the two lists, and have the new list, which would be called SAP-R3-L, hosted and run by MIT. We still would have administrivia tasks, which we’d share and delegate, but it was a great offer (thanks MIT) and SAP-R3-L has left a great legacy.

Anyway, this year marks the tenth anniversary of sapr3-list, merlin, and SAP-R3-L.

The nearest thing I could find to commemorate was this bottle of bubbly, handed out to people in Walldorf (I was working there at the time) at a party in the car park.

So, happy anniversary, SAP mailing lists one and all!

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8 Comments

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  1. Alan Rickayzen
    DJ, That’s a really cool insight into the primeval birth of the forum universe. My first post goes back to 98 and I can still remember my finger trembling over the send button. BTW, the MIT archive only goes back to 2000.
    I’m in London at the weekend so if you happen to be there, maybe we can find a suitable carpark to celebrate in. I think I still have a bottle with the same label!
    Alan

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  2. Hi DJ,
    Your post brings back many fond memories for me.  I was at MIT and using SAP during the list’s inception, lo, those many years ago, and SAP-R3-L was the prototype for the SAP-WUG list.  We’ve moved on from Listserv, we now use a user-friendly Mailman web interface for subscribers, which makes my life (lowly list administrator and WF enthusiast) much easier.   But truly, if the SAP-WUG@mit.edu list is a success, it is due to the excellent subscribers.  Their willingness to share information, exchange ideas, and always dig a little deeper make this list a great community.
    Regards,
    Sue
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  3. Marilyn Pratt
    Hi DJ,

    I found your post a very smart punctuation (pun intended) to a long series of discussions about how to behave in forums and weblogs.  I think we could benefit from having more of what your MIT listserver page offers up: clear rules and reminders about postings (to be read before hitting the send or final button).
    Here’s a toast to you for your sparkling wit and very readable contributions to this community.
    We raise the virtual glass to you, DJ for raising the bar here.
    Cheers,
    Marilyn

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  4. Harald Reiter
    Thanks for the insight on that one!
    I remembered being on ‘sapr3-list’ before it became SAP-R3-L and was using it quite a lot for BAPI related questions and info. I actually thought this was something cooked up by SAP – don’t know why!
    I had my own folder in outlook where all the postings got copied to and I was reading them when being on a plane.
    Definetly a valuable tool and thanks for making this happen.
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  5. Hmmm, “flashback” might be the appropriate term as I’m wearing my yellow Jimi Hendrix “Are you experienced?” t-shirt as I write this!

    Yes, it sure was a blast doing sapr3-list, and later sap-r3-l at MIT, the child of our two lists.  I started sap-r3-l on my home Gateway 386 PC and Vancouver, BC’s 1st ISP (can you say, “80 MB hard disk”?!).  I started it because I couldn’t find any info about SAP BASIS on the ‘net – that’s R/3 version 2.0B, kids.  I learnt a lot, but from a personal perspective, it was pretty tight timewise as I had a full-time job plus two young ones at home, yada, yada.  After sapr3-list had gained a subscriber list of > 1,000 members in only 5-6 months, the list maintenance had started to take over my life, and thus we merged our lists and moved the rsult, SAP-R3-L to MIT. 

    Fast-forwarding – remember VCRs from that time period? – to today, the current state of affairs is numerous specialized SAP-oriented web sites, plus of course, SDN.  Who knows what it’ll be like another 10 years down the road?  Quite different, I’m 100% certain.

    No regrets, though, and yes, I shall have a glass of bubbly at the next opportunity and virtually clink my glass to yours, DJ!

    Happy birthday sapr3-list, merlin and SAP-R3-L!

    bryan

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  6. Twan van den Broek

    Stumbled upon this post due to your #BIF entry.

    Wow SAP-R3-L brings back memories – looooong time ago and DJ as one of the administrators, looking back I can only say “But of course”.

    Great story.

    Twan

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